Ash's epic season finally ends
by Nigel Stockley

Player:Ashar Zaidi

DateLine: 27th September 2013


Ashar Zaidi's epic season has finally come to an end after 46 matches, 2421 runs, 136 wickets and 32 catches in five and a half action packed months.


Little could he have imagined that after beginning the season at a chilly Chatburn Road playing for Clitheroe against Great Harwood in mid April that his season would end playing in the Sussex team that beat new County Champions Durham after smashing a host of records in Accrington's march to the Lancashire League title.


Silverware came in his second match of the season when Accrington won the Ron Singleton Colne Trophy at Lowerhouse with Ash racing from the field, stump in hand, in triumph.


The following day Accrington's long march to the title began with an opening day win over Haslingden with Ash hitting 39 and taking 5-44.


Ash's first century of the season was an unbeaten 113 with 5-8 from 9 overs thrown in as his second sub pro stint of the season ended in another comprehensive victory for Flixton over Darcy Lever.


His first century of the season for Accrington came the following week against Rawtenstall in a 3rd wicket stand of 166 with Aijaz Shah (115 not out).


The Northern Premier League was Ash's next stop with 64 in Lancaster's win at Kendal. He smashed 170 in his next sub pro outing for Middleton in the Central Lancashire League sides win over Milnrow. The next day a solid 83 coupled with 5-38 saw Accrington to victory in their derby match at Church.


Ash then smashed 32 off Rishton's Garth Wyse the following Friday in a comprehensive 20/20 win. After a rare day off Ash hit 121 against Burnley on Sunday.


In early August he passed 1,000 runs in the Lancashire League during his century against Todmorden.


It was then revealed that he would be leaving Accrington at the end of the season. How would this news affect Ash?


The answer came in no uncertain fashion six days later at Haslingden where he played his best innings of the season, an unbeaten 138 to bring the title within grasp. Ash's century was also a club record fourth of the season.


Eight days later Accrington sealed the championship in some style, beating outgoing champions Lowerhouse with Ash making 43 and taking 3-49.


Meanwhile Ash had approached all 18 counties to offer his services. Sussex were looking for a replacement for Monty Panesar after releasing the slow left armer and Ash seemed to fit the bill.


His trial in the seconds couldn't have gone better with an unbeaten 192 and 6-24 in the match against Durham to earn a County Championship debut against Yorkshire.


First though came the small matter of Bobby Simpson's 54 year-old batting aggregate of 1444 runs. Ash needed 90 from the final match at Colne.


Needing 40 for the record with just 48 needed for victory, Ash launched a ferocious assault on Colne's inexperienced bowlers to snatch the record in dramatic fashion.


Next up was Ash's County championship debut and he didn't disappoint taking 4-57 to hit the national headlines.


And finally he made 45 and then took 2-44 in Sussex's 6 wicket win over new champions Durham to leave his new club Church sweating with the chance of a contract with a county a possibility.


After a record breaking season featuring seven centuries, nine half centuries, 2421 runs, 136 wickets and 32 catches it's now time for a well deserved short rest.



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